Delhi excise policy case: BRS leader K Kavitha appears before Enforcement Directorate for questioning

K Kavitha alleged that the BJP government was “using” ED as it could not gain a “backdoor entry” in Telangana.

Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) MLC K Kavitha addresses a press conference, in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavitha on Monday appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) at its Delhi office for the second round of questioning in a money laundering case linked to the now-scrapped Delhi excise policy 2021-22. The 44-year-old MLC, daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, said that she had done no wrong and claimed that the BJP government was “using” ED as it could not gain a “backdoor entry” into the southern state, which goes to polls later this year.

She was first questioned pertaining to the case on March 11, and was later summoned on March 16. However, she skipped it last week citing her pending plea before the Supreme Court for relief in the case, which will now hear her petition on March 24. Later, the ED had asked her to appear today.

The federal probe agency had confronted her with the statements made by Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramchandran Pillai, who allegedly shares close ties with her. Pillai has been arrested by the ED.

Pillai, the ED had said, “represented the South Group”, an alleged liquor cartel linked to Kavitha and others that paid kickbacks amounting to about Rs 100 crore to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to gain a larger share of the market in Delhi under the excise policy.

The “South Group”, according to the ED, comprises Sarath Reddy (promoter of Aurobindo Pharma), Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy (YSR Congress MP from Ongole Lok Sabha seat in Andhra Pradesh), his son Raghav Magunta, Kavitha and others. Further, the ED alleged in Pillai’s remand papers that he “represented the benami investments” of Kavitha in the case.

The federal probe agency has also recorded the statement of her former auditor Butchibabu Gorantla, an accountant allegedly linked to Kavitha, where he said “there was political understanding between K Kavitha and chief minister (Arvind Kejriwal) and the deputy chief minister (Sisodia). In that process, K Kavitha also met Vijay Nair on March 19-20, 2021”. Nair, former AAP communications in-charge, was arrested by the CBI and ED.

Kavitha could likely be confronted with Pillai and Butchibabu today.

The ED has so far arrested 12 people in connection with the case, including former Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is lodged in Tihar jail.

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First published on: 20-03-2023 at 14:34 IST